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Our Breeding Program & Kennel

Since many people get puppies from us who live too far away to make visiting our kennel much of an option, I wanted to include this page. This way everyone can have an idea of where their puppy came from and how we operate.

As of 2014 we are switching up our breeding practises a bit. Being part of a very large canine reproduction/whelping forum online group, quite a while ago I heard that veterinarians specializing in reproduction were saying that it was easier on a female to be bred back to back rather than skipping heats. It didn’t make sense to me why a pregnancy would be easier than a heat cycle so I disregarded the discussion. Sometime later the question was posed yet again and when a highly respected dog breeding/neonate ‘guru’ and author spoke up, I took notice. She too confirmed that it is healthier for the female dog’s uterus to “breed, breed, breed, breed, spay”. So I started my research to find out why.

First thing I knew was that (if done responsibly) it should lead to a female having her litters in her younger years and then being retired and spayed earlier in life – and we all know it is easier on our bodies having babies in our 20’s than 40’s. The main thing my research found out is that an unused uterus starts to get lax and lose tensile strength, making it higher risk for diseases and whelping issues. What this doesn’t take into account is the toll nursing takes on a female’s body. From our own experience here, where previously we usually planned to have two litters in a row and then a break, we saw that either way our girls’ body condition was back to normal about a month after weaning. I believe this is mainly due to the quality, type, supplements, and amount of food our girls get through pregnancy and nursing – which we are careful to monitor so that mom will have plenty of milk to feed all those pups without it turning her into a skeleton – and because we introduce puppy mush to pups at 3.5weeks of age, which lightens the load on mom some (and the pups at that age instantly love it). So, if it is healthier for the female's uterus to be bred to back to back – why isn’t everyone doing it? Simply because many people in the ‘breeder world’ and even more in the ‘public’ do not know – so there is the stigma that anyone who does breed back to back is a puppy mill. As when I started breeding in 2008 most people were still buying their pups from pet stores (which makes me cringe as there was no way of them knowing the health, genetics, or care of the parents, or the quality of the kennel the pups were raised in, etc.) and since that practice has changed as people became more informed, I believe that this too will follow. Even the American Kennel Club is now hosting speakers in seminars promoting the above – so I doubt it will be all that long.

So what exactly are our plans? To always skip the first heat cycle as at this time their body is still developing, then (providing the female is healthy and in optimum body condition) to breed back to back starting on their second heat (usually at about 18-20 months of age), having their last litter in their 4th year and then retiring and spaying before they turn 5. For labs, that will be having a litter of pups approximately every 7-8 months. Am I worried about public perception? A little, but I try to combat that with being as transparent as I can, always welcome everyone to visit our kennel, and lots of pictures/video of our set-up/parents/and pups for those who are too far to visit. When weighed against the health and well-being of our females, the decision wasn’t too hard.

Our kennel set-up is in two parts:
We've re-designed a large part of our attached garage into our
Whelping Kennel. This area has been divided into four 35sqft inside pens, each with a doggy door to their own outside pen that range from 300sqft to 400sqft. These pens are only meant for soon to be moms and puppies. The area is heated, has lots of windows for natural light, floors are covered with rubber g-floor/walls are covered with puckboard (both for longevity and easy cleaning), hot and cold water taps, power, each pen has video surveillance, room enough for the puppy playpen to be setup indoors during the winter months (so pups have a large area to play in when they aren't yet old enough to start going outside) and my favorite.... connected right to my house! This means I can direct my children on how to finish making supper while I sit in a pen whelping a litter, or I can check on newborn pups in my slippers and pjs in the middle of the night with only a 6 second walk from my bedroom - LOVE IT!!!

Once pups are old enough to have free access to outdoors, we shorten their indoor area. This encourages the pups to start using outdoors for a potty area - works like a charm every time!

Right in our backyard is our Adult Dog 
Kennel.  The building is 450sqft, heated, again rubber g-flooring and puckboard walls for easy cleaning, and is divided into 6 pens - 3 on each side. Each pen houses 2 or 3 dogs (we want them to have friends to play with) and has a giant Kuranda dog bed to snuggle on. Through the doggy door each pen has free access to its own 3000sqft outdoor run. When designing this kennel we wanted each dog to ALWAYS have space to run - be it a game of fetch with us or playing tag with doggy friends. Surrounding the whole area is an 8ft high solid wood fence to help reduce wind and disturbance to neighbors.

"The reason a dog has so many friends is that he wags his tail instead of his tongue." Anonymous

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